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Until recently, very little was known about anxiety in later life, particularly when compared to the breadth of knowledge and research on depression within this age group. However, research into this area is now beginning to grow, with the presence of anxiety in older adults (i.e., aged ≥65 years) found to be associated with an increased risk of mortality , disability  and lower life satisfaction . Thus, a good understanding of the prevalence, phenomenology, assessment and treatment of anxiety within this population is essential for all clinicians working in the geriatric field, particularly given the manner in which the population is now rapidly ageing.
Assessing anxiety among residential aged care facility (RACF) residents is challenging, and it cannot be assumed that valid and reliable measures used within the community are also appropriate for this setting. This review systematically examined the literature to identify which anxiety measures were most commonly used with older adults in RACFs, and determine whether psychometric data support their use within this population.
Using the PRISMA guidelines, five electronic databases were searched using key terms and subject headings. The search was limited to literature published in English. Eligible studies utilized an anxiety measure to assess anxiety symptoms among RACF residents. Based on the findings of this search, a critical review of the research into the reliability, validity, and administrative and respondent burden of the most commonly used measures (i.e. used in four or more studies) was conducted.
In total, 1,771 articles were identified, with 50 studies included in this review. Overall, 22 measures were used, with the majority of studies utilizing a clinician-administered or self-report measure. The RAID, HADS, STAI, and GAI were the most commonly used measures. While overall there is a lack of research and consensus into the psychometric properties of these measures within RACFs, strongest evidence of reliability and validity was found for the GAI.
Commonly used measures of anxiety within aged care populations are not well validated for this complex subsample of older adults. Strengths and weaknesses of each measure with regards to their usefulness in aged care settings are discussed, with future research areas highlighted.
With the increasing prevalence of dementia, there is a pressing need to identify effective interventions that prolong independent functioning. As pharmacological interventions aimed at slowing cognitive decline have been found to have a number of limitations, research has now moved toward studying complementary non-pharmacological cognitive training interventions. This review describes the use of spaced-retrieval as a method to teach new information and reduce behavioral problems in people with dementia.
We searched the databases PsychINFO, MEDLINE, and Scopus as well as reference lists of relevant papers to identify articles describing the use of spaced-retrieval with people with dementia. Only primary, peer-reviewed research published in English was included in this review.
In total, 34 studies were identified, three of which were randomized controlled trials. We found that across studies, there was wide variability with regard to design, methodology, and outcome measures used. Nonetheless, the existing research demonstrates that spaced-retrieval training can be successfully used to teach people with dementia new and previously known face- and object–name associations, as well as cue–behavior associations aimed at alleviating problem behaviors and improving functional skills. The method can also assist with the recollection of past events.
Current evidence indicates that spaced-retrieval training is effective in enabling people with dementia to learn new information and behavioral strategies. Future research should attempt to address the limitations outlined in this review and focus on utilizing this technique to achieve more functional and clinically relevant outcomes. Recommendations are also made with regard to investigating potential secondary benefits of spaced-retrieval and strengthening study design.
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